Solar panels tax proposal sends the wrong message

Solar panels are popular and make money for homeowners, but will the boom with a solar tax continue? Photo: Delivered.

A proposal for a solar tax or a fee for solar module owners to export the electricity they generate into the grid in order to avoid “congestion” in the supply seems to cast a shadow again on the uptake of renewable energies in this country.

The interest of potential panel owners is already declining, and those with panels installed are talking about turning them off at strategic times.

The Australian Energy Market Commission, which made the recommendation, says energy companies may need to deny grid access to solar panels in order to maintain their stability without changing the rules, which would cost them even more.

AEMC also argues that Australia needs a fairer system so that non-solar consumers would not subsidize panel owners and national bills would come down.

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The modeling shows that typical panel owners would only lose about $ 100 of their average $ 900 income.

It is also said that the current rules for a two-way system have not been established. A fee would allow the networks to adjust their own pricing mechanisms to secure investments in parts of the network when necessary.

Australia, and Canberra in particular, has one of the world’s largest solar power consumers. AEMC wants to ensure more access to solar energy, not less.

“This is about creating bespoke options, not blanket solutions,” said Ben Barr, CEO of AEMC, in a statement.

“We want to open the solar gateway so more Australians can join the 2.6 million small solar owners who have already taken the lead. But it is important to do it fairly. We want to avoid a best, best-dressed system as it limits the capacity for more solar energy into the grid. “

The AEMC, which has wanted such an indictment for years, based its decision on input from energy companies and welfare groups. However, the Total Environment Center in Victoria also argued that the current system does not encourage grids to allow higher solar and battery exports.

The charge doesn’t seem like much, although it is unknown where it can end, and the inequalities within the current structure create an energy split.

But it stinks of cost shifts from energy companies who have already reaped the benefits of gilding poles and wires, and one wonders why they shouldn’t be investing in necessary upgrades anyway.

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A small decrease in utility bills, while welcome, would do nothing to bridge the gap between homeowners who can afford to install solar panels and others, especially tenants.

In fact, it would likely put off landlords who might consider installing them.

Commercial generators are not charged for access to the network, so that many panel owners also find the proposal hypocritical.

There are also doubts about the extent of the problems facing power grids, accused of exaggerating their claims of making arguments in favor of charging solar panel owners.

The solar revolution has been going on for years and the problems of grid flow and stability are well known. Instead of reforming the system to accommodate increasing solar capacity, it had to wait for problems to arise.

This seems to be more of an optimization than a modernization of the system and seems to be another example of building a barrier instead of opening the gate to greening the network.

Like the new road user taxes for electric vehicles, it sends the wrong message to a community looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps privatizing the electricity industry wasn’t such a smart option.

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